The Anglican Communion Partners Movement

I spoke with Bishop MacPherson yesterday, and what Bishop Howe wrote is correct. Moreover, it was Bishop MacPherson who arranged the meeting with the Presiding Bishop. One important point of clarification is that, despite George Conger’s headline that the Presiding Bishop “backs” this plan, the bishops went to meet with the PB not to seek her permission, but to tell her what they were doing, that this did not violate the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and that they were going to be perfectly transparent with what this new association will be about and what it will do.

In short, the group has taken the Episcopal visitor plan and melded the same with alternative primatial pastoral oversight for the Episcopal visitors, which addresses the pastoral needs of conservative bishops. The Presiding Bishop has three roles – CEO of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (the corporate arm of the church but which is not the church), presiding officer over the House of Bishops (she runs the meeting), and chief pastor, which includes being a pastor to the Bishops, much as a bishop is the pastor to the clergy in their Diocese. The Anglican Communion partner bishops are not seeking to undermine the PB’s role as the duly elected PB for the first two functions, but the third, pastoral oversight, is relational and therefore requires an alternative arrangement.

Unfortunately, while this move may help conservative bishops in conservative Dioceses hold on until (and if!) the covenant is created, this is not some big overall solution folks have been hoping for. Frankly, nothing so far has been that. Will something like that ever come? Maybe, maybe not.

Update: The Anglican Communion Institute weighs in on the plan it helped to draft.

14 Responses to “The Anglican Communion Partners Movement”

  1. 1 robroy February 24, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    “In short, the group has taken the Episcopal visitor plan and melded the same with alternative primatial pastoral oversight for the Episcopal visitors.” Calling this alternative primatial oversight in any connotation is a farce. If John Howe wants to cry on Drexel Gomez’s shoulder, he is already free to pick up the phone and do so. I doubt Dorsey Henderson or Duncan Gray are going to be phoning up ++Mouneer Anis with all their concerns. As I said on Titus about the plan:

    Pretty much milk toast – DEPO warmed over with an exchange of email addresses between Episcopal visitors and more moderate GS primates. This is the kind of “differentiation” that one would expect from the so-called Camp Allen bishops who distinguished themselves so forcefully at New Orleans. Again, my objection is the timing. The timing plays into the hand of the revionistas.

  2. 2 Mad Potter February 24, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Brad, since you seem to have the ear of our bishop, a question. Does he feel the need for alternate oversight for Western Louisiana? Should we expect to see a Global South primate visiting us? Or, is +Bruce happy enough with KJS for our diocese? I wish he would make his intentions for Western Louisiana clear given this new club he is part of.

    I guess this taken to the absurd would end up with the progressives and some moderates in Western Louisiana looking for the “protection” of a more progressive bishop. Just how many primates and bishops can one diocese handle?

  3. 3 Alice C. Linsley February 24, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Brad, this is a bandaid on a very large infected wound. There can be no healing until TEC’s heretics are disciplined. How does this plan advance that?

  4. 4 Brad Drell February 24, 2008 at 8:56 pm


    Frankly, the need for alternative primatial pastoral oversight is +Bruce’s, not the Diocese’s. The Presiding Bishop is supposed to have a pastoral relationship to all of the Bishops in the church; however, the current PB is so radical in her positions that this is impossible in our broken church. Moreover, since the current trajectory of TEC is out of the Anglican Communion, the Windsor Bishops/members of the partnership will be taking their cues from these Primates as to what they should do to leave their relationship with the wider Communion unimpaired. Communion is mediated through Bishops, and hopefully this will satisfy folks like me in the Diocese who are keenly aware of the brokenness caused by TEC in the wider Communion and who know that TEC has departed from the Christian faith by providing us with a place to stand until TEC ultimately implodes on itself. Then, perhaps, Jerusalem can be rebuilt; until then people are still busy destroying it which makes rebuilding impossible.

    As to Global South Primates visiting us, I would welcome such visits as they help to create and maintain the bonds of affection within the Anglican Communion. This is not to take the place of the visit from the Presiding Bishop we may have once during her term of nine years. +Griswold came to visit Western Louisiana once in the middle of the week, met with some clergy, had a forum in the evening for whoever wanted to attend, but did not celebrate the Eucharist during his visit. In short, the PB’s visit to a Diocese is typically not a big deal. +KJS is going to visit South Carolina shortly; you might want to monitor that situation and see how that goes.

  5. 5 Allen Lewis February 24, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    As far as I can see, this solves nothing, does not address the real issue of heresy and denial of Scripture. How does this plan help to further the goal of the Communion disciplining the two rogue Provinces: TEC and the ACofC?

    It does not. So therefore, it is an empty and useless set of window dressing masquerading as some kind of “breakthrough” solution. Completely useless!

  6. 6 Mad Potter February 25, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Brad, Thanks, I think we need to be clear on our definition of terms here because I am unclear on what you mean by Anglican Communion. I would agree that TEC is heading out of communion with some of the Global South, but not Canterbury. If the Global South leaves Canterbury I feel sure that they will still use the name of the AC is some form. I think that it would be good for +Bruce to communicate with us, his diocese, if he feels the need for APO for himself or the diocese or both.

    I understand that he is trying to keep The Episcopal Church together,
    and as always his efforts are in my prayers. I am somewhat surprised at the strong negative comments being made by the conservative folks he seems to be trying to…

    But my comment is about APO for the progressives is half a joke and half a question. It could turn into all question.

  7. 7 Mad Potter February 25, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Allen….the entire Northern Church is “rogue” in the eyes of the Global South church. It is not just TEC and ACoC. When you figure that into the mix things change. “Rogue” includes the Church of England.

  8. 8 Sarah February 25, 2008 at 5:27 am

    RE: “As to Global South Primates visiting us, I would welcome such visits as they help to create and maintain the bonds of affection within the Anglican Communion.”

    Not certain why one would need the “Communion Partners Plan” in order to invite a Global South Primate to come speak and be in the diocese.

    I don’t get what this plan offers, although it’s certainly nice that Bishop MacPherson will have warmer relationships with certain Global South Primates.

  9. 9 Gregg L. Riley February 25, 2008 at 10:42 pm


    I agree with Sarah – it would be nice to have visits from Global South Bishops but I am not sure why we need the “plan”? Bishop MacPherson is already freinds with the Archbishop of the Southern Cone.

    Canon G+

  10. 10 Alice C. Linsley February 25, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Invite ++Gregory Venables to come and share his perspective. Even if you don’t agree with him, you’ll enjoy the fellowship of a man full of godly virtue.

  11. 11 Connie February 26, 2008 at 6:00 am

    The chief shortcomings of all and the previous plans (DEPO, etc.) are

    –they are subject to the acceptance of the regular diocesan bishop
    –they do not have any “teeth”
    –those most concerned were not consulted
    –they provide no protection from liberal bishops for conservatives and conservative parishes in liberal dioceses
    –they are based primarily in so-called gentlemen’s agreements
    –they do not address lawsuits brought against conservative parishes, dioceses, or individuals
    –neither the Presiding Bishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Primates have any authority to enforce them
    –they will be inevitably be overturned at General Convention 2009 (if the plans gain any ground at all)
    –it keeps conservatives yoked to The Episcopal “Church”
    –they do nothing to change the downward spiral of heresy in the Episcopal “Church”.

    Further, the number one reason why this and all the other plans are doomed to failure with regard to saving the Communion: (drum roll)

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited all the consecrators of Gene Robinson to Lambeth. Those Global South Primates who are part of the Common Cause Partnership will not attend Lambeth under these circumstances. Having been roundly ignored and lied to by TEc (and their counterparts in Canada), the Common Cause Primates are heeding the word of Holy Scripture not to have any dealings with those who preach a different Gospel.

  12. 12 Mad Potter February 26, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Connie…I agree with most everything you write. I do have a problem with the small c in TEc. You may not agree with TEC, but it is not capitalized because it is a church, it is capitalized because it is a name. I kind of like the CGC or GCC, kind of funny, and properly capitalized.

  1. 1 » Blog Archive » More on the US Anglican “deal” Trackback on February 25, 2008 at 6:39 am
  2. 2 Network newsletter - 2 March 2008 « The Occasional Christian Trackback on March 3, 2008 at 2:26 pm

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